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Outhustling Your Ability Yields Grave Consequences

Mary Grothe November 10 2021


Meet Host, Mary Grothe

Mary Grothe is a former #1 MidMarket B2B Sales Rep who after selling millions and breaking multiple records, formed House of Revenue®, a Denver-based firm of fractional Revenue Leaders who currently lead the marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps departments for 10 companies nationwide. In the past year, they've helped multiple 2nd stage growth companies between $5M - $20M, on average, double their MRR within 10 months, resulting in an average ROI of 1,454% and an average annual revenue growth eclipsing $3.2 million.


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Mary Grothe: Hey everyone, this is Mary Grothe — Founder and CEO — and you're listening to the Revenue Radio® podcast brought to you by House of Revenue®. Each week, we'll talk about common revenue challenges and how to get past them, share real-world experiences, and get a glimpse into my life as a CEO scaling my own business. If you're a struggling entrepreneur, or just an entrepreneur looking to be inspired, this podcast is for you. I'll give you honest, unfiltered, and practical insights into growing your business and getting past your revenue plateau.

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It's a fragile topic today, and I'm interested in seeing how it lands with people who listen to this. In the entrepreneur community, even as a former salesperson, we use a term called hustle. I believe hustle is good, but I think that hustle needs to have an endpoint. It shouldn't be a constant state of being those of us who embrace the hustle and work harder, smarter, more efficiently than others. We've learned to love our hustle. We've branded it as part of our identity. We find peace, knowing how well we hustle, because in moments of fear or doubt if something can get done, we innately know that because we are wonderful hustlers. We'll figure out a way to get it done even when others can't.

Unfortunately, in my own life here recently, I've also watched it happen to others around me. You can out-hustle your ability. I didn't think that was possible. I have been the queen of hustle for years. In fact, I'm still shooting to publish sometime here in many of the keynotes I've given in the book I wrote last year. I spoke very highly of my hustle. I attributed much of my success to my hustle. I had said how I used to be the first one in the office when I was selling payroll and HR services. I would show up to turn the lights on for the whole building. This was a two- or 300-person office, showed up, make the first pot of coffee, turned on all the lights. I was proud of it. It was a badge of honor to be the first one in. It was a badge of honor to get all of my administrative work done or non-revenue generating activities done before my peers ever showed up to the office.

I would remember playing a game with myself to see how much work I could possibly get done before the first person walked in through the doors, maybe around us somewhere between 7:30 and 8 o'clock. I loved it was almost a drug-like addiction. Perhaps it was an addiction to my manager walking in. Usually, sometime around 7:30 every morning, praising me for being such a hard worker and being there before anyone else. I wanted to make him happy. I wanted to win. I thought winning meant outworking everyone. The hustle that I've often talked about in whenever you've heard me talk. I have a lot of pride in it. I know I outsold everyone else because I firmly believed I was a great salesperson. Potentially better than some, but I think I just outworked everybody.

I did it for so long, and I was exhausted. I was exhausted when I finally left that career, waking up every day at 4:45 or 4:30 in the morning. Hustling through to the end of the day to do everything that I could possibly do to win and succeed. I have to turn my phone off. I'm the rookie podcaster that started recording. Didn't turn my phone off. Whoops. All right. So how has hustle continued through my life? Well, I have these strange periods of rest. I think what it is, I’m recovering from burnout. I don't know how to embed rest in my normal life. I feel like if I'm resting, I'm wasting time. If I still have energy inside me, I need to put it to the things that move the needle. I feel very restless when I'm sitting at home with my family in the highest energy moments of the day, usually from when I wake up till about one o'clock in the afternoon. I'm the highest functioning at that point. I'm the most disciplined. I have the best energy and attitude during that. I started to get sleepy in the afternoons. The willpower lessens. The energy levels decrease. I don't really feel like doing anything other than taking a nap.

For me, it's strange because I get restless, if I'm sitting there doing a mundane task, like playing trains, or doing something sitting at the breakfast table is actually very difficult for me. During the workweek, I have my first cup of coffee, and from the very first sip, my laptop is open, and I'm already smashing through my administrative tasks for the morning so that I can be present doing employee or client-facing meetings as soon as 8 am rolls around. On the weekends, I don't eat breakfast, FYI. I'm sitting there with my coffee. All that energy starts flowing through my veins. My brain starts going a million miles a minute. I'm so excited. I have so much to give. I want to channel that into my work because those are my prime hours to get the best work done.

On the weekends, I sit there, and I feel restless. I feel like I'm wasting it. I think, gosh, "If I could just get a couple of hours of work done right now. I could then enjoy the rest of the day and do things that are a little bit more relaxing." But I was really making a commitment after my last little episode here a couple of weeks ago. If you weren't listening, I had pretty much a nervous breakdown and hit burnout. So, I'm rebuilding from that. I'm focused on rest, and rest is hard for me, and maybe it's hard for you.

I found a book. Okay, this new thing I told you about it. Last week, my son was in the library. I grabbed a book the last time we went. I just read it so fast. I ate it up. It was "Kind As A New Classy." I read you some excerpts from it last week. We went to the library yesterday. I picked up two new books because I'm an overachiever. I guess going along with the theme. This one is called "Present Over Perfect." It was written by Shauna Nyquist. "Man, is it good? No, it is so good." This woman is so much like me. She finds normalcy in the hustle. She struggles with the silence. It was the first time I've read somebody articulate, really what happens inside of me, and it's great.

In the book, she said, she thought everybody was that way. Then she, through counseling, conversation, and fellowship, realizes that not everybody is that way. In fact, she couldn't even find anyone else like her through those conversations and realized she was the anomaly. That people enjoy rest, and people love the stillness. People find all that connection with nature. Very similarly, Shauna and I are feeling like our minds are just racing. While we're doing that, we're thinking about other things, debating where our time is being spent, what can move the needle more in our lives and the lives of people around us?

This book has been incredible for me. I'm halfway through. I've been reading it since yesterday. I took it to the gym with me this morning. It's daylight saving. So I ran an extra hour, and I got to the gym super early before my trainer got there. I've been very focused on that self-care component ever since the little breakdown I had a couple of weeks ago. I'm reading, I'm on the treadmill, just feeling this movement inside of me, acknowledging that somebody is living this crazy life similarly to me. I've had so much peace in it. She talks a lot about her journey and being this worker bee in the hustle.

She had a section in here about her regrets from that lifestyle. I'm going to read it to you. Her regrets for how many years. I bruised people with my fragmented, anxious presence. How many moments of connection I missed - too busy, too tired, too frantic, and strung out on the dug of efficiency. "Ah, that one hit me. Page 28. That one hit me." It was the last thing I read before I closed my eyes and fell asleep on the couch last night. It was the last thing that I read. It is what I carried with me into my dream. This life of hustle, how fragmented and anxious I must seem or appear around other people. I've heard and been given the feedback that I move so fast. I have the most urgent piece of anyone they've ever met. I don't know why I feel like my life is just a race against time. Reading this book and being so deep in it today, I realize I have to slow down.

There is so much peace in simplicity. There's also power in simplicity. I have this history, a cycle of hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, burnout, crash, burn. The pendulum swings the other day, the other way, where I'm sleeping a crazy amount of hours. I'm feeling numb. I'm struggling with the silence. I'm antsy and battling the anxiety inside of me because I know I need to rest. I also can build animosity against what I'm working on and what I'm doing. For example, I started to build animosity against my company and frustrated me down into the tizzy. I was able to nip that in the bud quickly. Thank goodness. I realized the only person I have to blame is myself. I mean, this is ridiculous. If I'm putting it anywhere else, it's time to look inward.

So, after her paragraph, where she talks about her regrets about how she bruised people with fragmented, anxious presence. How many moments of the connection she missed - being too busy, too tired, too frantic, and strung out on the dug of efficiency. She said, now, I know there's another way. This is encouraging that she says you don't have to damage your body, soul, and the people you love most to get done what you think you have to get done. Read that again. She says, now, I know there's another way. This is encouraging that she says you don't have to damage your body, soul, and the people you love most to get done what you think you have to get done. You don't have to live like this.

I'm not anti-hustle. I'm not reading this book and going to completely reverse how I've been living my life. I'm just going to remake it again for the third or fourth time. She talks about here that she feels like she's had a very heavy reset button in her life about every seven years. "Wow, I can relate to that." Maybe most people feel that way. I feel like I'm in yet another reset. However, this one is not. After seven years, I had a reset. Because of COVID, I had a reset in 2020. I remade my life. I remade the business. I remade my life. You know what I'm thinking is that God's not done with me and the remaking. I think what happened is I went back into the driver's seat, grabbed that steering wheel. I took it away from him too soon, which is why I think I'm in this place again. I think that through the good grace of God, he is pulling me away from the driver's seat so that he can continue to do the work in me - to remake me. Remake my life, everyone with me, and around me so that I can continue carrying out what he called me, who he called me to be, my purpose while I'm here on this planet in the flesh.

I'm reading this book, and I'm acknowledging how many people in my life I have somehow surrounded myself at my company with people who embrace and love the hustle. I'm watching how hard they're working. I know, well, I don't know, but I'm guessing I lead by example. I'm leading the example of hustle. Now I have a different size motor. My hustle is far different than anyone I've ever seen in my life. I feel that I can out-hustle the best of them. I feel like I've built a company and a team of people trying to step in, step with me, and hustle at the same level. Almost as if that's the expectation that I've set. That's how I find value or would deem worth of anyone on my team is if they can keep up with me. Maybe that's been unspoken law inside of my company, something I didn't even know I created as a leader as a CEO.

It's time for me to take a step back and ask myself, what am I putting out as the example? What is the unspoken set of expectations of how you are to be if you're an employee of this company? Did I somehow create a company where the unspoken expectation is that you've to put everything on the line and work your tail off to succeed and achieve absolutely everything possible? Or you don't have a seat here? I don't know. I guess only my team can answer that question. I can be smart by watching my team observe them in their work, seeing if they're working on the weekends, in the evenings. I can change how I lead by example. The last few weekends, I have not worked the last two weekends. I have put a limit on total Slack messages. Both of them work with the same person, our CEO, somebody he and I have worked on every weekend over the last year. I've reliably been able to Slack him and communicate with him every single weekend. We're moving the needle on projects.

When I had my nervous breakdown, I knew that I was putting him on the verge of his own. The only way I could feel like, hey, my team is so passionate, and they're so talented. Whether God brought them here, we're just attracted by the good work we were doing and wanted to be here. What I'm acknowledging is that these people are fueled by the mission. These people are fueled by what we've created in the great work that we're doing. Potentially, the only way they're going to slow down is if I slow down. If I make the way, if I lead by example, and show them that we are going to take weekends off at this company. We are going to shut it down and not work at night. We will take a breather for our own sanity - our own good, soul, body, well-being, and the people around us. I'm acknowledging the power that I have as a CEO that most days, I don't realize that I have that power of influence.

This is a big call-out for me. I get to remake my life however often I want to. This is an option that I've been granted. And through introspection and awareness, I get to observe and identify where I am misleading people. So that's the decision that I'm making during this journey of remaking my life. The hustle has been good to me. The hustle has given me many things in life. God has given me more. The blessings that have come from him are far greater than anything that I've been able to give to myself through my own hustle. It's time that I pull back a little and make room and get comfortable in resting. Get comfortable in silence so that I can hear Him and allow Him to guide me and not wait for him to be the God that I come running to after I screw it all up again. The high commitment to be in step with him while I go on this journey and to quit taking over when things get good, you know, that's what I do.

I feel like I'm abusing God's grace. Do you know how many times he has rescued me? When will I learn? Maybe it's now. Perhaps I'll never learn (praying that I do). You can out-hustle your ability in a fear that I have. I fear I would out-hustled God's ability with His mercy and His grace to continue to pull me back on the track. Okay, that's me. I'm going to wrap this. As a CEO, as a leader, the pace and tone that you set for yourself will be noticed by your people. I believe that there's a healthy level of pace, tone, speed, success, and achievement that you can set. I do believe that it can cross over into the zone of being unhealthy. I don't have all the answers, but I can share what I know is my answer with you.

In my warning light, my indicator is when I pushed so hard that I reached other points of exhaustion. It takes me weeks of rest and sleeps to heal myself. Pure repentance to God, in apology for yet again, taking over and driving things at the speed of Mary. Potentially down a path that they were never meant to go down. I cannot live my life for this world. I feel like I have made that commitment so many times. Yeah, how many days do I wake up, and I find myself living my life for this world for this world's terms and definitions, instead of for the greater good. It's a constant reminder for me. It's obviously a decision I don't get to make one time, and I'm forever cured. Apparently, it's a decision I have to make every day to stay focused so that I quit out hustling my ability.

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Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at or with me Mary Grothe spelled G-R-O-T-H-E on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

Connect with House of Revenue® on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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